Letters to the Editor

Criminal system not working

When people are punished for potential offenses, we all lose a lot.

Is that not exactly what we do when we sentence a person under the "3-strikes" law? Sadly, most of the people who struck out are not the "worst of the worst."

When we put nonviolent people behind bars for life without the possibility for parole for wallet grabbing or purse snatching, would that not be punishment for anticipated crime? Punish them forever for what they may or may not do in the future. Petty thieves almost always need drug treatment, not death in prison.

Our criminal justice system is punitive and resentful, based on revenge and retribution. How is that working for us? The large rate of recidivism is the answer to that. Society's rage to punish has created an abuse of power that is costing millions of dollars, which could and should be spent for education, transportation, health care and other needs that are underfunded.

– Leslie Berkseth

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